Most STAR's have "expect" instructions for individual fixes, therefore it is up to to ATC to clear the aircraft to lower altitudes as they proceed along the STAR. There are just a few STAR's that have hard altitude depictions, I believe that the CIVET arrival into LAX is such a STAR; in this case the clearance would be "cleared direct CIVET, descend via the CIVET6, maintain eight thousand". So, you see, even in these instances where altitudes are depicted on the STAR there is still a minimum altitude to maintain and there is no landing clearance.
Many STAR's expect information are not entirely accurate. I know that the DARBY arrival into SDF states for non-turbojets to expect DARBY at eight thousand and that is rarely the case unless they have conflicting turbojet traffic also on the STAR. The GUITR arrival into BNA does not state that turbojet pilots should expect GROAT at sixteen thousand and non-turbojets should expect GROAT at twelve thousand, and those are constant and steadfast clearances. The SWEED arrival into CVG does not state to expect to cross DRESR at FL240 but that is always the clearance. In fact the GROAT crossing into BNA was installed back when American had a hub there and was never taken out of the Letter of Agreement between Indy Center and Memphis Center. So even though there is not much traffic into BNA we still have that over-restriction and it would be nice if it was on the Terminal Procedures STAR depiction page so that new pilots into BNA wouldn't act like the world is coming to an end everytime that they are issued that clearance.
I'm not joking! This is my job!